In a world of instant communications, free knowledge and unseen-before mobility, one would have thought that humankind would progress, would break free from the centuries of capitalist propaganda and set a course toward a brighter future. However, the death of Queen Elizabeth II has proved otherwise.
The night of 8th September I was on social media, scrolling through endless portraits of the monarch, stories featuring “rip”, “such a strong woman”, “an era has come to an end”, and many similar unimaginative placeholder messages whose authors thought that they were somehow profound. The irony behind this hysteria, symptomatic of the world community’s successful indoctrination into the idea of the British nation-state, is that those preaching for sympathy were the most incapable of it. They tried to project a certain emotion, aiming to convince their fellow maniacs that they were desperately upset. Fine by me.
The real problem was that when I countered this lunacy with objective facts, the reaction was expectedly zealous. You see, monarchic indoctrination, a component of British nationalist indoctrination, places an idea on a pedestal and cements it at the highest point in the socio-economic hierarchy. In the case of monarchy, the idea that is propagated is that the monarch unifies the nation by devoting their life to “serving the people”. We all know that this is utterly baseless, however. Thoughtful, analytical, critical minds see through this transparency. The British monarchy is a parasitic institution with no tangible benefits to the working class. In fact, the monarchy is inherently anti-proletarian and even anti-bourgeois. Yet, working class people fall victims to this cult of personality. The reason why barely anyone considers the monarchy as such is that it is a part of the dominant ideology and we are all products of the ideology of the ruling class.
It is absolutely astounding that the majority have more sympathy for an unelected head of state that symbolises imperialism, neo-colonialism, oppression and rigid capitalist power structure than for the beggar on the street, the child worker in Bangladesh, the prostitute in Amsterdam, the black and brown descendants of persons that were enslaved in the name of King and Country. The fact that I am forced to mourn is alarming and signals the ridge we are all looking down into. It is expected of me to mourn, but I refuse. I refuse because I have no reason to. She was at the top of a system which exploits us, tortures us physically and mentally, and restricts us. She was a human being. Every day children are killed, women raped, men tortured. No one organises a disgusting display of depression in the same manner, so why should we treat her death differently? This is intuitive and logical, yet I was attacked and vilified as a heartless looney. The irony is that the heartless looneys are in fact those who express some perverse form of sympathy toward the establishment on occasions like these, but have never shown an ounce of solidarity or real humanity toward the billions of workers who make up the majority of the world’s population.
Reactionaries and prisoners of false consciousness talk about respect. Is it respectful when the royals and the gentry fenced off our land? Is it respectful when they pollute our air with their private jets? Is it respectful when they instil in us a sense of inferiority so that we can become obedient workers ready to be content with a hundredth of the cake? Why should anyone sympathise with a system that is diabolical, and what is worse, maintain the idea that it is somehow “democratic”? Was it democratic when the police arrested a 22 year old for simply speaking the truth by calling prince Andrew a “sick old man” or threatened a man holding a blank sign? That is just a minuscule fraction of the injustices which flourished under the queen. Let us not forget that the monarch is alerted to any intention to bring about a bill in parliament which could affect their wealth, that the queen disregarded wildlife protection laws in Scotland, that the Duchy of Lancaster – the Firm’s private estate – is worth billions, and that the monarchy has spent decades accumulating private capital.
I conclude by reminding reactionaries the words of Irish socialist James Connolly: “Neither in science, nor in art, nor in literature, nor in exploration, nor in mechanical invention, nor in humanising of laws, nor in any sphere of human activity has a representative of British royalty helped forward the moral, intellectual or material improvement of mankind. A people mentally poisoned by the adulation of royalty can never attain to that spirit of self-reliant democracy necessary for the attainment of social freedom.”. In the fight it is important to remember that we, the Working Class, create the wealth of this country and that “there isn’t a train that moves, not a bin gets emptied or a shelf stacked without our kind permission” (Eddie Dempsey, RMT). Therefore, I refuse, and we all must refuse, to mourn someone who represented the ugliest aspects of Capitalism.